Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Aviation Authority chairman accused of defamation

Hernando County Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut is the second official with ties to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to be sued by a tenant recently.


Hernando County Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut is the second official with ties to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to be sued by a tenant recently.

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut has become the second official linked to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to be sued by an airport tenant for defamation recently.

Worldwide Aircraft Services and company principal Michael Honeycutt are seeking monetary damages and an injunction to stop Schraut from making derogatory comments about them.

Honeycutt operates the air ambulance company known as Jet ICU. He contends that Schraut told a Tampa Bay Times reporter that Honeycutt and his company were "troublemakers, were liars, were bomb throwers and were like terrorists.''

Honeycutt alleges that Schraut — without naming him specifically — referred to him as part of what Schraut called the "Fab Five," or the fabricating five. According to the suit, Honeycutt determined that he was one of the group Schraut was referring to, based on people he deals with and "recent events at the airport.''

Honeycutt contends that Schraut made the statements to interfere with his business, drive him out of business and take back Jet ICU's leased space at the airport.

The statements could also have been made to bring shame, disgrace, embarrassment and indignity to Honeycutt and his company and discredit them, the complaint says.

While Honeycutt is seeking damages, he acknowledges in the lawsuit that it would be "hard to quantify'' the damage done by Schraut's statements.

Schraut did not return a call seeking comment on the suit.

Several weeks ago, Robert Rey sued Don Silvernell, the recently retired manager of the airport, for slander. Rey, who manages aircraft under the name Jet Concepts, alleges that Silvernell told Paul Douglas that Rey was "a crook, that he doesn't pay his bills and that he is financially incompetent.'' Douglas was considering leasing the defunct air center property at the time.

Rey's suit also alleges that Silvernell told Honeycutt's company not to do business with Rey because he and Jet Concepts were not authorized to operate at the airport. If they did business with Rey, the management and staff of the airport would not support them, Rey alleged.

Because of that interference, Rey says Jet ICU, where he houses his clients' aircraft, has been reluctant to participate in joint projects and that others have been reluctant to maintain business relationships with him.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando Aviation Authority chairman accused of defamation 08/20/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 6:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system


    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Bay woman, 11-year-old boy had sex up to 20 times the year their baby was born, detectives say.


    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  4. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery


    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  5. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times